Condé Nast Reveals Five Best Practices for Advertisers Eyeing iPad Magazine Apps

Condé Nast conducted more than 100 hours of one-on-one interviews with users of its GQ, Vanity Fair, Wired, and Glamour iPad apps, along with more than 5,000 in-app surveys, to determine the five best practices for advertisers looking to crack the Apple tablet medium.

The publisher said its questions focused on overall consumer usability, expectations, and sentiment, with 80 percent reporting that the content from its brands met or exceeded their expectations; 83 percent likely to purchase the next issue for the iPad; and 89 percent saying the apps were easy to use.

Condé Nast’s five best practices for creating advertising that will engage and resonate with the user:

Take advantage of this new medium’s functionality: Users responded positively to the additional functionality of the iPad. Therefore, advertisers that included compelling and unique experiences, that were self-contained and exclusive to the environment, were liked more than those that did not. Increased opportunities for engagement including video, photo galleries, and links to Web sites are recommended.

Provide clear instructions on how to engage with your app: As many surveyed were not familiar with iPad navigation, ads that included clear calls to action and cues on how to engage the creative were more effective. Icons should be clearly visible and intuitive and state whether more content or additional functionality can be found.

Supply additional information but avoid repurposing creative assets used for other media: Users enjoyed advertisements that provided something new and useful. Including detailed product info and how-tos are recommended. However, repurposing video or creative used for other mediums is not suggested.

Tell a story: The most remembered ads contained narratives. The iPad’s ability to showcase various forms of media offers a unique opportunity for telling a brands’ story. However, it was discovered that users became bored when the same advertisement was used repeatedly throughout a single application.

Lead them down the purchase funnel: Brands that enabled a user to directly access and purchase the featured product fared better than companies that offered homepage links alone. It is also recommended that due to compatibility issues, Flash not be used.

Condé Nast senior vice president of market research Scott McDonald said:

We continue to see that reader engagement with our digital magazines apps, in terms of time spent, is on par with or exceeds our print editions. We were surprised to find, however, that many iPad users surveyed were not the typical tech “early adopter” or familiar with Apple products and their navigation conventions. This has very important implications for application-interface design.

Chief marketing officer Lou Cona added:

When we initiated our R&D phase, we felt strongly that by choosing a multiadvertiser model for our digital magazines, it would enable us to garner some valuable learning that we could pass on to our clients. With such a rapidly changing marketplace, we expect behaviors to evolve quickly. However, our initial results enable us to offer clients our five best practices for producing successful digital magazine creative — insights we feel will be helpful as the industry navigates this new medium.